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Stop the SHOCKS

Kim Willis explores the tireless work of Refuge for Wildlife in Costa Rica, where the electrocution of howler monkeys as a result of uninsulated power lines and transformers has been a problem for decades

Animal Rescue

To Costa Rica’s howler monkey population, power lines seem no different to the branches and vines they depend on to swing through the jungle hunting for food. Travelling in family troops, howler monkeys should have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. They use their tails like a fifth arm, to grip and hang from branches and add extra balance and stability as they traverse their habitat, rarely descending to the ground. But disaster strikes when these innocent omnivores touch transformers or live wires.

7500 volts surge through them. When mothers are carrying their young on their backs, the voltage can kill her, leaving her baby orphaned. While she may have taken the biggest electric shock, babies can still be hurt too. The shock can set the monkey on fire, leaving them with charred flesh and burnt hair. They can experience muscular spasms and, unable to let go, they cry out in pain, resulting in the rest of their troop trying to help but suffering the same tragic fate. Several family members can be electrocuted at once and entire troops can be killed in minutes.

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About Vegan Life

I recently attended a lecture on The Magic of Writing by Adrian May. As a writer, it is interesting to hear other people talk about their experiences, their frustrations and the little quirks which make us all unique. I, for example, like to prepare my research in advance when writing a ‘long read’. Sitting with my research on one screen, a dauntingly blank document on the other and a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea, I can start writing. To the infinite amusement of the rest of Vegan Life HQ, I also like to listen to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack as I write… it is my quirk. It occurs to me that we, as vegans, are all as unique as writers, with our own quirks, experiences and frustrations. We recently began featuring a monthly debate in the magazine and I have been thrilled at the width and depth of responses we have had to our questions. This month, we put truffles on the stand. A plant based, naturally occurring product that many vegans abstain from, and others adore. Hearing the contrary views of fellow vegans reminds me that, although we are all striving towards a common goal, we are all taking different paths there. This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Will Gould from the band Creeper. Creeper has won multiple awards including the Kerrang! Award for Best British Newcomer and is using its growing platform to speak about issues close to its heart, including veganism. I am also extremely excited to share my experience from a private screening of an incredible film called Down to Earth, which is set to be released on 14th September 2018. Find my review on page 102. Finally, we have an article on the dairy industry from Viva! on page 48. 60 per cent of people are unaware of exactly how milk is produced and therefore this is the perfect article to give to a friend or family member who still drinks cow’s milk. As ever, please feel free to get in touch. Olivia Middlebrook Editor